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KNOXVILLE — Life on the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, campus will be bustling once again as students return to campus this weekend for the 2009-2010 academic year.

Welcome Week kicks off Saturday, Aug. 15, as new and returning students move into residence halls and many social and academic-based activities begin. Classes start Wednesday, Aug. 19.

UT’s Welcome Week provides incoming students with the opportunity to start their college careers on the right foot. As students make their first impressions on their classmates and professors, UT makes its own first impression on the newly arrived.

Activities ranging from the annual freshman picnic and sorority and fraternity recruitment to more academically minded Light the Torch sessions.

This year’s freshman class is 3,723 strong and is one of the most academically accomplished and diverse UT has seen.

“We want our new students to know we are vested in their success, and we want to encourage them to take advantage of the many resources to get the most of their experience both in and out of the classroom,” Provost Susan Martin said.

“Light the Torch: The First-Year Experience at UT” is designed to provide new students with a solid foundation:

– “Life in the Class Lane” introduces students to Blackboard, the campus’ online course management system.

– “Passport to Success: Travel Times” guides students through UT facilities and key resource locations.

– “Life of the Mind” book discussions bring together small groups of students and faculty group leaders to discuss an assigned book. The 2009 Life of the Mind book is “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls, who visits campus on Monday, Aug.17.

Other Welcome Week activities include:

– Big Orange Goodbye with Bruce Pearl, 11 a.m. – noon Sunday, Aug. 16, in Presidential Courtyard for parents and students.

– Freshman Picnic, 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 16, in Circle Park, featuring football coach Lane Kiffin, UT cheerleaders, Smokey and the pep band.

– Caribbean Splash Jam Pool Party, 8 p.m. Monday, Aug. 17, at TRECS.

– Celebrate the Rock 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 18, at the landmark’s new location with free food, entertainment and plenty of paint.

– Film Flashback 1992: “Wayne’s World,” 9 – 11 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 19, Humanities Amphitheater. First-year students can enjoy free popcorn and a movie from the year they were born.

– Comedian Vidur Kapur performs 7:30 – 9 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 20, in the University Center Auditorium.

– Hypnotist Gabriel Holmes performs at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 22, in the University Center Auditorium.

For a complete schedule of Welcome Week events and additional information for students and parents, visit

C O N T A C T :

Rebekah Winkler, (865-974-8304,